Review: Nature Republic Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream High End Luxury K-beauty

In this article I’m going to review the high-end K-beauty product Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream.

It costs about £75 or $100USD from Nature Republic’s official website. For that, you get a full-size jar and this contains 50ml (just under 2oz) of product.

Packaging and first impressions:

It comes in a green cardboard box with a sleeve giving you product details (and stopping the cardboard box opening). Inside the cardboard box is a crystal-style big square jar which is colored green in a gradient from clear to dark green.

Everything about this product screams pure luxury. I heard about it from a friend who asked me to bring her a jar back from Seoul when I lived in China.

Here are some photos:

The white lid is a screw top and underneath, there’s a black protective second lid.

The cream itself has a jelly-like texture and consistency. It’s clear and colourless apart from the 24 karat gold pieces that are embedded in the cream.

It has a sort of perfumed scent, I think it would pair well with Chanel No. 5 because the scent is in the same style but different.

Active Ingredients:

Every active ingredient in this product is a powerhouse from nature. They’re all slightly a big deal in South Korea (slightly), and since we know for a fact K-beauty is all about the skincare, this product should be top of everyone’s list in the fight against ageing.

The active ingredients in this product are royal jelly, silk amino acids (known for their repairing properties for skin and hair), and extract of red ginseng.

Royal jelly is well-documented as an anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. It contains antioxidants that work against free radical damage. Reference here.

Ginseng is a superfood that has been used as a supplement for decades in the west to help with middle-aged women’s problems. It stands to reason it’s going to bring its A-game to skincare products, and in K-beauty, it’s currently everywhere. Red ginseng contains vitamins B1, B2 and B12, and it helps increase oxygenation and circulation to skin cells. Reference here.

The 24 karat gold is supposed to improve your complexion. Reference here.

Gold is still the next big thing in skincare, especially Korean skincare, so whether or not it’s an effective ingredient, at least you’re getting some actual gold for your money. Gold is technically inert as it’s unreactive (chemistry, yo) but it can illuminate and brighten your complexion so there’s that.

Really, the gold is there to make it look pretty while the other ingredients do the hard work.

The ingredients also list zizyphus jujuba fruit extract, which is a well-known ingredient native to South Korea which they also make delicious jujube tea out of. It’s a superfood, darling, and it’s the Korean skincare equivalent of Japan’s matcha green tea extract except that’s an understatement because this stuff is packed with vitamins. Jujube is the nutritional lovechild of goji berries and matcha powder. Reference here.

Another powerful ingredient, much higher up the list, is Cāng Zhú, aka Attractolydes Root Extract, which has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries. It is harvested in Springtime and it has antimicrobial properties. It increases your chances of sunburn (like retinol creams do), but conversely, attractolydes has also been shown to have anti-cancer cytotoxic properties, so wear sunscreen with this one! Reference here.

How good is it?

It depends on what your skin is like, your age, and how you use it. I am 34 with some minor first signs of ageing like fine lines which I can still disappear with the right creams, masks and exfoliations (just about).

When I first opened my jar of Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream, I mistakenly used it as a day cream and as a result I didn’t like it. Bad, bad plan. It’s FAR too gloopy for that. Instead, use it in place of a sleeping mask/night cream, or in the evening if you’re staying in. Don’t try using this cream with makeup, the results will be damp and sticky.

In fact, the texture is damp and sticky anyway, which is why I think this is much better as a night cream or sleeping mask. Keeping this on for 8 hours uninterrupted is going to do your skin a lot of good. When it touches your face, it literally feels packed with goodness. It’s like making your face take a bath in a 24-karat superfood smoothie.

I tend to use this Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream in the evening after the sun has gone down, and over winter, when my skin needs more nourishment due to the weather and more time spent indoors with the heating on.

For best results, pair this with the Ginseng Royal Silk Essence.

Over several months, I’ve found that my skin has become brighter and holds moisture much better than before I was using this product. I’m liking it better than the Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream although that’s a thin day cream and this is a very thick night cream so the two could work extremely well together. I’ve reviewed the Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream separately.

I don’t think this cream is targeted at people in their twenties at all. You won’t find any benefit from it. If you’re in your mid-thirties onwards, this cream really comes into its own. Unfortunately, the vast majority of beauty reviewers in the world are in their teens and twenties which obviously makes it difficult for them to review anti-ageing creams.

The reason I took so long to review this cream is on the first use it didn’t seem like it had made any difference. The reason it’s hard to assess on one or even a few uses is because it doesn’t have those skin-plumping ingredients found in many western creams that are actually just a quick fix and really useless for long-term anti-ageing.

This cream is so powerful, that after using it every night for 3 weeks, I started only using it twice a week and alternating it with Laneige Water Sleeping Mask Lavender, because I don’t need to use this cream every day, yet, so now I’m just using it for maintenance. This means if you’re under forty, one jar will last you FOREVER. Well, a long time, anyway.

The Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream is a long-term fix for your skin. It’s skincare rather than skin-fakery. And that’s what makes it worth buying.

Travel Packing:

The packaging of this cream is a little over the top. I weighed it on some scales, the jar by itself was over 500 grams (over 1lb)! It doubles up as a great paperweight. However, this is definitely not a jar of cream that you would want to take on vacation or any business trip, especially if you like to only take a carry-on.

If you regularly take excess baggage on flights and don’t mind dealing with really heavy suitcases (I absolutely detest lifting heavy bags), you could probably take the whole jar, but I’m not a fan of carrying things when I’m on vacation and I find that even executive-level rooms at the Marriott or Hilton are not big enough for more than a couple of suitcases, which is two people’s normal luggage, so this cream is good for travel only if you are booking a whole suite or apartment.

If you’re travelling and need a K-beauty fix, I recommend you take Laneige Water Sleeping Mask in a little travel pot, instead, or decant Nature Republic Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream into a travel container. Since this product increases your sun sensitivity, I’d suggest the Laneige product if you’re travelling to a very sunny destination like the Seychelles, Maldives or Malaysia. Likewise, if you’re under 30, Laneige Water Sleeping Mask should be your go-to night cream/sleeping mask.

Where to buy:

You can buy direct from Nature Republic’s UK website www.naturerepublicuk.com or in the US you can get it on Amazon in this incredible offer of the Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream, Ginseng Royal Silk Essence and FIVE miniatures for $130, saving about $60 on the RRPs of getting all this separately. In South Korea, just pop into any Nature Republic store where the assistants will be delighted to advise you.

The verdict:

An investment in your future skin.

Add-to-cart potential: High.

Review: Laneige Water Sleeping Mask Lavender

While I was in Seoul, I was able to get a bunch of very exciting K-beauty products, including the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask. I bought the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask in two different scents: Original (the blue jar) and Lavender (purple jar). In this review I’ll look at both, and explain why I bought the lavender one again after I finished them.

The original one has a nice, light scent to it, and if you’re used to it, you might not want to change to the lavender one, but if you haven’t tried either (and if you don’t mind scented products, which I don’t) then the lavender one is worth checking out.

The Laneige Water Sleeping Masks in Lavender and Original do exactly the same job. You apply them last, after cleansing, toner and essence. Some people put a thick layer on so it can be absorbed as they sleep. I suspect these people sleep on their backs.

I sleep face down on my front and I can’t sleep at all without earplugs and an eye mask, so applying any product thickly is a non-starter, it just makes my pillow wet, then when I move in the night, the product transfers off my pillow into my ear and I wake up with a silky soft ear and a nice-smelling pillowcase that now needs a wash.

D’oh.

I apply this after my other products have absorbed, and I only use a thin layer, so one jar lasts me FOREVER. While it says it’s a sleeping pack, if I’m not going out of the house at all on any given day, I will put a thicker layer on my face during the day and cover it up with my silicone mask shield which I got in Japan, then I can leave it to bake for an hour or two and get extra goodness infused into my skin.

Don’t literally bake your cosmetics.

That would be weird. And probably not very tasty.

So anyway, I like the lavender scent best because lavender helps you sleep and it’s also very relaxing. It’s one of my favourite herbs and I have a lot of other lavender products so this compliments those.

I also like the colour purple a lot so serious props that the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask Lavender comes in a purple container. The actual cream itself is not purple, it’s a sort of white colour, the same as the original scented Laneige Water Sleeping Mask.

The jar has a screw top and the inside has lots of product. I really don’t like skincare brands that put a tiny amount of cosmetic into a gigantic jar to make you think you’ve bought a lot of something when you haven’t. It’s a nightmare to pack products like that.

The Laneige Water Sleeping Mask Lavender is one of my holy grail products partly because of how easy it is to pack. Laneige do travel-sized jars of original scented Water Sleeping Mask and I keep getting them free with other purchases, so what I did is used up the original Water Sleeping Mask in my travel jar and now I refill that with Lavender Water Sleeping Mask to take wherever I’m flying to.

I use the other empties of this product to decant other products such as my high-end skincare from Nature Republic whose products are fabulous but the packaging is really heavy and bulky and therefore generally abominable for frequent flyers! I’ll review some Nature Republic products in the near future.

The Laneige Water Sleeping Mask original and lavender both come with a thin plastic inner lid to protect the cream from leakage and from getting damaged if you accidentally don’t close the lid properly.

When I use this product, it feels really cooling and soothing to put on my face. My skin feels super hydrated the next day and I think the scent helps me sleep better, too.

The other thing I love about the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask is it’s not rich or greasy at all, which is super for people like me who paradoxically have very dry skin that doesn’t like heavy, oily creams at all (does anyone’s skin actually respond well to those thick greasy creams?).

It sort of has a gel-like consistency, but it’s not as jelly-feeling on my face as other products with this consistency. I find a lot of “gel cream” type products cling to my face like a cheap lipgloss and my hair then gets stuck to my face and my skin looks weird like I just fell into a plate of jelly.

The Laneige Water Sleeping Mask isn’t like that. It’s basically the ideal consistency of any product ever.

I’m now on my third jar of Laneige Water Sleeping Mask Lavender because it’s perfect and I intend to keep buying it as long as it’s for sale!

Have you tried Laneige Water Sleeping Mask Lavender yet? Let me know in the comments! It’s available here on Amazon. You can also find the original one on Amazon if you want a less scented option (I know that one is available cheaper from other sellers, but that listing is the official and genuine Laneige product.

Not sure how to use K-beauty products? Check out this article!

How to get rid of blue circles, dark circles and undereye veins in 2020: The latest research.

So you were searching for how to get rid of blue under eye circles or blue veins, and maybe you found my original post on this, or my one about purple under-eye circles, and you are wondering if there’s any new developments? Or maybe you were looking for something about how to get rid of the dark circles under your eyes without using makeup?

This post has been a LONG time coming but I am going to discuss how to get rid of blue under eye circles and dark circles and show you how I did it. Because things have changed since I wrote my first or even second post on this topic.

I have learned so much more about this topic than I ever thought I could, and I have found out that blue under-eye circles are part of a broader set of skincare issues. Maybe you’ve heard of them.

Redness in your face. Prone to breakouts for no apparent reason. Abdominal pains that come and go. Fatigue. Feeling the cold more than other people and getting coughs that never. Ever. Let. Go. There’s also evidence now that this same set of symptoms is connected to depression.

My original post still stands, but I was looking at several different causes of blue under-eye circles and I wasn’t seeing the bigger picture. What is causing the causes of blue and purple under eyes? There are two causes, which actually feed into one another and these also cause redness and acne.

Inflammation and stress exhaustion syndrome.

You may have heard of them.

All the things I recommended to do to fix blue under-eye circles are great at minimising them for most people on a daily basis. However, when you stop treating them, they come back within a week or two. You look tired out again. And all those related symptoms never go away, either.

To get rid of blue circles under eyes completely, to permanently get rid of dark circles under your eyes, and to ditch those other symptoms, you need to reduce inflammation. That doesn’t mean taking anti-inflammatories. In fact, ibuprofen and diclofenac are really bad for you if you have underlying inflammation, because your body reacts to them by working harder to be inflamed.

The blue circles and blue veins you can see under your eyes are inflamed blood vessels that are pushing against the thin skin beneath your eyes.

These can both be solved. You need to make major changes to your life. In this article, I will look at inflammation and I’ll write a separate one about stress exhaustion syndrome.

What causes inflammation?

Inflammation is your body’s response to an injury (real or not). It helps to heal injuries and release infection-fighting antibodies. This by itself is not a bad thing (it’s pretty good, actually).

Inflammation is there to protect you from injuries and support your body while it heals. So when does it become a problem?

Inflammation is intended to be a short-term response to a threat. When it lingers, it is called chronic inflammation. Some researchers now believe this to be the root cause of many illnesses, particularly the ones that have become a big deal over the past 30 years. Asthma. Allergies. Even cancer! Acute inflammation has clear signs, redness and swelling somewhere on your body.

Chronic inflammation is internal, you wouldn’t necessarily see outward signs that you would link to an injury. The skin on your face is thinner than elsewhere, and redness on your face, especially red patches, and blue circles under your eyes, are surefire signs of chronic inflammation.

When inflammation goes on for longer than it needed to, it causes “bystander damage” to the surrounding tissues near the site of injury. This means the inflammation starts to damage your body. [reference]

How does inflammation end (aka how can I get rid of these blue circles and other symptoms)?

In the body, inflammation ends when certain biological pathways are activated:

– The production and release of interleukin 10 [reference]

– Upregulation of anti-inflammatory markers such as the interleukin 1 receptor agonist or the soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor (yes, unresolved inflammation causes tumors) [reference].

– When your body produces and releases Transforming Growth Factor beta, which creates new epithelial cells after injury [reference].

– Cleavage of chemokines (a breakdown in specific proteins activated by certain mineral deficiencies)[reference]

– Production of anti-inflammatory specialised proresolving mediators such as resolvins, neuroprotectins and lipoxin (if you struggle to follow directions or read a map then your body might not be producing enough of these [reference]) [reference]

But what does all that mean in plain English?

When your body goes into overdrive trying to fight off outside invaders, you get sick with chronic illnesses. You get tired because your body is putting so much energy into fighting off threats. Eventually, you can get cancer or tumors because the biological defences are so worn down there’s nothing left in reserve. Those dark circles aren’t the most serious effect of chronic inflammation, that’s for sure.

What are these threats that your body is responding to?

This is the most controversial question about inflammation. There are two schools of thought: The commonly accepted one and the newest one. The common wisdom tells us that chronic inflammation has no cause but that if you eat certain foods you can heal from it. These foods give your body the fuel to overcome inflammation. The thing about this theory is that it maintains the status quo. All you have to do is change your diet, they say, and you can heal from inflammation.

But people are still getting sick. People are still getting dark circles under their eyes and constant fatigue and insomnia and depression and asthma and allergies.

What is going on?

Enter the second theory. This one says, it’s our modern way of life that’s causing the inflammation. The flame retardant chemicals that cover every fabric item in your home evaporate and get into your body. The microparticles of pollution from car engines and dust clouds from the desert fill your lungs. The water you drink contains microplastics that get inside every tissue in your body. The additives in foods and drinks, cosmetics, even our water, can cause deeper long-term damage stemming from chronic inflammation.

The science is starting to show this to be true.

If inflammation is the cause, to get rid of your dark circles or blue under eye circles or veins, you have three options:

Medium-term fixes such as matrixyl cream or allergy tablets. I went through all of these in my original article on blue circles.

Long term changes to your diet such as in The Inflammation Diet.

Transforming your entire life, incorporating changes to your diet, your exercise routine, fitting your home with an air purifier and so on so your dark circles are permanently gone.

Let’s look at the long term changes in more depth.

Changing your diet to get rid of dark circles and blue circles under your eyes, which are markers of inflammation:

The inflammation diet is a life-changing diet with a lot of evidence behind it. There are lots of different books on it written from many perspectives, and I’ve read so many while learning to heal myself. Here are my top 3 anti-inflammation diet books:

The Inflammation Spectrum: Find Your Food Triggers and Reset Your System by Dr. Will Cole with Eve Adamson

Why I like this book: It focuses on you as an individual, helping you find your specific problem foods so you can tailor-make your own dietary cure.

The Complete Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Beginners: A No-Stress Meal Plan With Easy Recipes to Heal the Immune System by Dorothy Calimeris and Lulu Cook RDN.

Why I like this book: It is super-easy to follow if you don’t have time to go in-depth into your food triggers, yet, eliminating the most common inflammatory foods to give you meal plans and recipes anyone can make!

The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book, Second Edition by Jessica Black N.D.

Why I like this book: Written by a doctor of naturopathy, this book looks at diet from a holistic viewpoint, sharing insights that come from outside the “standard” medical model to help you understand how you and your family can heal from inflammation.

Changes to your home:

The biggest difference to my life came when we bought an air purifier. I was living in China at the time and the air quality is variable, sometimes there is pollution or desert dust which get into the apartment and cause breathing problems. America also has pollution and desert dust, although not to the same extent (except LA).

New research shows methane, not carbon dioxide, is the biggest threat to our environment, and methane is found in high concentrations in modern intensive farming areas.

When I was pregnant in China, I had such bad breathing issues but I didn’t go to a doctor about it because our nearest western hospital was two hours away. Months after we left China, although my exhaustion had improved, I was still struggling to breathe, and in Northern Ireland I was spirometry tested and re-diagnosed with asthma despite being free of it for 13 years by that point.

Not only that, I was given very strong inhalers and was one daily dose away from having to shield during the big lockdown earlier this year. I used to climb mountains, so obviously the change in my ability to breathe (and move) came as a shock.

Getting an air purifier will benefit you and your family and I highly recommend it if you can afford it. We had one in addition to the usual air conditioning unit (which doesn’t purify the air). My only regret is we would have benefited more from having two purifiers; one for each main room of our apartment.

We spend so much of our lives trying to eat right, get enough exercise, drink enough water and sleep better, and it’s very easy to overlook the most fundamental thing we all need to sustain life: Clean, pure air.

Best for larger rooms: Honeywell HPA300 True HEPA air purifier. This one filters out more allergens than cheaper models and its throughput is more air per minute, meaning it’s good for large rooms. The downside is the bigger motor will be a little louder than a less powerful model.

Best for those people on a budget: Medify Air MA-14-B1 air purifier. This is $99.99 and is the best sub-$100 air purifier I’ve seen. They also do a half-size one on the same Amazon page for $49.99. These models rate high for being very quiet which is perfect for in the bedroom, where you should spend at least 1/3 of your life.

Honorable mention: Germ Guardian True HEPA Filter air purifier. This has so many features and is a complete steal at $89.99! I stayed with someone who had one of these last year and with my asthma, I could feel instantly that the air was easier to breathe and my chest was less tight. I felt refreshed after being there for a few hours. This has UV light to kill bacteria, a HEPA filter to catch allergens, and an activated charcoal filter to neutralize odors.

Changes to your lifestyle:

Our modern lifestyle is one of comfort and ease, and our stresses tend to be cerebral not physical, but our bodies and minds aren’t designed to live in this type of way. They need movement. Surprise. Hard physical work. Good sleep. Plenty of water.

There aren’t many books devoted to this aspect of chronic inflammation, and those that exist are usually crazy expensive.

Body on Fire by Monica Aggarwal is a good reference book on the main changes to reduce chronic inflammation, as agreed by most in modern medicine. It focuses on the effects of good and bad diet, exercise routines, sleep habits and hydration levels.

In my opinion, there’s a lot more to be said about this aspect which isn’t being talked about in the mainstream.

Conclusion:

To conclude, the blue and dark circles under your eyes could be caused by chronic inflammation, and you can address the root causes by changing your diet, lifestyle and environment. Improvements to your diet will normally resolve the vitamin K and iron deficiencies at the same time if these are part of the problem.

Easy AHA exfoliating melt and pour soap recipe (variations for all skin types)!

This recipe is super-easy and so good for skin, especially in wintertime when dryness can be an issue. It seems like the combination of leggings, hot air indoors and going out on cold wintry days can cause skin to become flaky.

Add to that, on a cold day, no one wants to spend time moisturizing when they get out of the shower. I know at this time of year I’m so busy and cold, my skincare routine always goes right out of the window!

If you need to know how to get started with soapmaking, go here. Otherwise, read on and find out how to make an AHA exfoliating melt and pour soap. This recipe makes 1 bar of soap that should fit into a rectangular silicone soap mould, so scale it up to suit your needs.

Ingredients:

10 ml Cherry kernel oil

90g Melt and pour soap base

1 ml Cherry blossom fragrance

A pinch of sliced up loofah

Method (makes 1 soap weighing 100g):

  1. Cut about 90g (3 oz) of soap base from the block of melt and pour base. Chop the base finely and place into a glass jug.
  2. Heat the soap base in the microwave or place the jug in a pan of boiling water until all the base has melted.
  3. Add 10ml cherry kernel oil and about 0.5ml of fragrance.
  4. Mix in the sliced up loofah for extra exfoliating power. Once it’s all stirred up, pour into a soap mould and wait for it to harden.

How it works:

The cherry kernel oil is a natural AHA exfoliator, that helps get rid of dead skin cells on the surface of your face and body, increasing cell turnover and ditching dry skin.

Most AHA ingredients found in shop-bought products are chemically derived, whereas the cherry kernel oil retains its moisturizing properties, making it perfect for exfoliating dry winter skin!

The loofah helps speed up the exfoliating process by physically removing any dead skin (the stuff that can sometimes flake when you’re drying off after a shower).

An advantage of melt and pour soap is there’s no lye to handle, so this recipe is safe to make around pets or children. Having said that, be sure not to let them eat the finished product or any of the ingredients!

You can probably turn this into a cold process soap recipe, if you’re the sort of person who likes to customize every last ingredient in a soap recipe, but if, like me, you’re more excited about the finished product than the process taken to get there, melt and pour is a great choice!

Any melt and pour soap base will work fine with this recipe. I prefer the goat’s milk one but obviously, if you’re vegan, you would want to avoid that. The standard SLS/SLES free Stephenson’s melt and pour soap base is always a good choice, but there are so many choices for melt and pour soap bases, you’re bound to find one which becomes your favorite!

Variations:

Combination skin (oily and dry)? If you want this recipe to work better on oily skin, switch the fragrance oil for tea tree oil instead. The tea tree oil will help with hard-to-clean blocked pores and encourage spots to clear.

Super-dry, sensitive skin? Add 10ml avocado oil to this recipe, use no fragrance at all, halve the amount of loofah and be sure to use your usual cream(s) after the shower. Avocado oil is super-hydrating without being greasy or weighing your skin down (there’s nothing worse than feeling shiny after a shower, is there?) and many people with extremely dry skin find fragrance oils can dry them out even more, so making it unscented will help, too. By reducing the amount of loofah, you still get rid of dead skin cells but without causing irritation.

Oily skin? Add 1/4 tsp of French Red Clay (ultraventilated) and switch the fragrance oil for tea tree oil. The French red clay will help control oil production from your pores, and draw impurities out of them, while the tea tree oil will help with problem spot areas.

Did you try this recipe? Let me know in the comments!

Why I got rid of my silver hair

If you’d asked me in October 2018 whether I would ever stop dying my hair silver, I would have replied with a resounding no. I’ve written so many tutorials and made so many videos about how to dye your hair silver and how to get white hair that I think I spent about 1/3 of 2015 just teaching other people how to get silver hair at a time when no one else was doing it.

I explained the science, how to get your hair to a point where you can bleach it, and what to do if you accidentally over-bleach your hair (I’ve achieved that at least twice, haha. This was before protein filler was perfected. Hair grows).

I still have dreams where my hair is that beautiful color, then I awaken and see myself in the mirror. Dark hair. Washed-out face. Different. Older.

I still think silver, white and white blonde hair are the three most stunning colours you can dye your hair. The next most stunning? Purple.

In October 2018, I took about 3 bottles of Renbow Crazy Color Platinum, 2 bottles of Crazy Color Lilac and a medium bottle of silver shampoo and another of conditioner back to China with me in my suitcase, along with other western staples I just don’t like living without (coco pops, decaf coffee). They got through New York JFK airport no problem, and I couldn’t foresee a time when I would stop coloring.

Fast forward to December 2018, when I was stuck in the bathroom in our apartment in Malaysia, just being sick constantly. Pharmacy. Test. Positive. The most exciting day of our lives up to that point (it was about to get a lot more exciting). We had seen half of the world, flown over Everest, learned to cook in Cambodia and driven to Rome from York in our homemade Citroen Picasso campervan. It all paled in comparison to this. We were about to embark on the biggest adventure of our lives.

After years of trying and heart-wrenching disappointment, our baby was finally on the way.

We had four miscarriages before now, including two in England, one in Nepal and one in China. I was not going to take any chances on anything at all. I occasionally had wine before now, but when we got that positive test, I stopped drinking. I wore socks in my sandals which is the Chinese way. I wore nothing tight around my waist and didn’t even wear a bra for 7 months. I slept on my side. No coffee or tea. Vegetables. Vitamins. I wanted that baby to have everything.

This pregnancy was kind to me, especially contrasted with my first pregnancy, where I’d had hyperemesis and ended up in hospital on IV fluids. And finally, when the baby arrived, I thought I’d start doing all the things I’d done before.

I didn’t.

See, there’s this thing called breastfeeding, and it turns out, you’re not allowed to do anything while you’re breastfeeding. Except make cosmetics with excess milk. So I left my hair alone. And left it. And left it. Eventually, I had this block of white which was around my collarbone, and lots of dark hair further up. In February, I got most of it cut off, and the rest went in July, so now all my hair is brown.

I’m still breastfeeding. Jellyfish is 15 months old and I will keep giving him boobie milk as long as he wants it. I could probably dye my hair again with no major problems, but honestly, at the moment, I don’t have any interest in doing it. White hair is ultra-high maintenance. Silver hair is labour-intensive, too. I don’t want to spend so much time on it. I thought about (gasp) getting it done at a hairdresser but they’re all a) closed and b) always tell me not to have silver hair which leaves me frustrated at wasting money on a hair colour I don’t want.

There’s a box of Schwarzkopf silver permanent dye in the bathroom. It’s been there since last August, when I bought it without thinking. Every time I go in there, the girl on the box stares at me, her gaze penetrating into my soul and calling to me, like Poe’s raven. Nevermore. Nevermore. Nevermore.

And like the raven, my hair will be silver again… nevermore.

Okay that was way too serious. It’ll probably get attacked with bleach in a year or two. IDK. I don’t want to say never but I’m not feeling a full-color whiteout right now.

How about you? Have you stopped coloring your hair? Started? Let me know in the comments!

How to get rid of a double chin: 4 proven causes and methods

It can be daunting looking at a double chin in the mirror, especially if you’re skinny or not very overweight. You might be thinking, “why do I have a double chin?” and “what’s the cheapest way to get rid of a double chin?”

Here’s the truth about your double chin: It’s not necessarily to do with how fat you are or aren’t. There’s three different causes of double chin. This article will look at all of them, as well as some solutions for every cause (and one quick fix).

Cause 1: Low muscle tone.

This is the easiest cause of a double chin to fix. For some people, the muscles around their neck are not strong enough to keep their skin taut. This makes the whole area sag and the jawline soften.

Fix it: Do some double chin exercises, such as tilting your head back as far as it will go and pulling it back to the normal resting position, like you’re doing an over-exaggerated nod.

Imagine your spine is the center of a clock and try to lean your head and pull it back upright from 12, 2 and 10 o’clock for best results.

Cause 2: Excess fat

This is a harder problem to solve. When it combines with low muscle tone, it can really cause problems, and before you know it, your double chin has grown!

No one likes to think they are overweight, but if you have a double chin and exercise didn’t get rid of it, maybe it’s time to step on the scales and be honest. You can calculate your BMI here to find out whether you are overweight or not.

If you’re not overweight, a double chin could be caused by excess internal fat. This also causes excess belly fat even in skinny people. The solution is to take up an aerobic exercise such as running or skating every day.

Solve it: Sign up for a couch to 10k.

Cause 3: Ageing

As time goes on, our skin loses elasticity. One area where this can be especially problematic is the chin and neck. It’s often where we see the first sign of ageing because it’s easy to forget to put cream on in this area, and over the years, this takes its toll.

Solve it: Use a targeted anti-ageing neck cream to increase firmness and elasticity.

Cause 4: Allergies

This is a cause no one likes to talk about, but like blue circles under your eyes, a double chin can be caused by swelling due to allergies. If you’ve tried everything and can’t get rid of your double chin, you could have a problem with allergies causing inflammation. Just like when you are sick, the neck can become swollen from the chronic inflammation caused by allergies.

Solve it: This is harder to solve. You can put a sticking plaster on the problem by using allergy tablets but they don’t address the cause. Many people just assume they have seasonal allergies, but without getting tested, they would never know. Untreated allergies can cause long-term effects in the body such as chronic inflammation which cannot be solved by taking allergy tablets. If this is the cause, you may want to look into lifestyle changes to reduce inflammation such as the anti-inflammation diet or supplements that fight inflammation.

How to get a swirl effect in melt and pour soap

A lot of soapmakers tell you that you can’t get nice colour effects in melt and pour soap. They are wrong. Today I am going to share some of the colour effects I’ve achieved using swirls and layering techniques in melt and pour soap, and explain how you can do them too. Once you’ve tried it out, you’ll have beautiful soaps crafted artistically, just like in cold process soaps!

What is a swirl?

A swirl is where you have more than one colour in a soap, and usually you would spin it e.g. on a Lazy Susan. What is a Lazy Susan, I hear you ask. A Lazy Susan is one of those plate things that people used to use for Thanksgiving in the 1970s because you can spin it around instead of passing the carrots across the table… which is pretty lazy, hence the name.

A Lazy Susan a bit ugly on the dining table and in this day and age of Instagram and Martha Stewart, people tend to have a nice centrepiece in the middle of the table and just pass the carrots to each other. So people dumped their Lazy Susans in the garage and now you can use it to make soap instead! At least, you can if you are making cold process soap.

It doesn’t work so well in melt and pour. I suspect part of the reason why some cold process soapers look down on melt and pour is because they try to do things the exact same way you would do them in cold process, then they decide it’s the soap that’s the problem when it goes wrong.

There is absolutely a way to get a swirl effect in melt and pour, it’s just you don’t swirl it the same way as you would swirl a cold process soap!

How do you swirl in melt and pour?

To get a swirl effect, I use mica powder colours. I love these because they are available in vivid shades. They have a nice shimmer when you use them in high concentrations. Best of all, they show up really well in melt and pour soap. Colourants have to work extra hard in white melt and pour because, as you’ll know if you have ever done cold process, soap isn’t naturally white. The white colour comes from the addition of titanium dioxide, which can nix your other colour choices, especially if you want natural colours. Clays etc struggle in white melt and pour soap. Mica is a natural mineral so it’s a great all-rounder.

Melt your soap and split it into two separate jugs.

In a separate jug, mix your mica with a little rubbing alcohol (if you have no alcohol, you can put the mica directly into one of the jugs of melted soap as this will dissolve in melt and pour, but for colour effects, you get more control over the outcome if you mix the colour up separately because then you can add a little at a time to one of your jugs of soap). You will want about 2 teaspoons of alcohol to half a teaspoon of mica. You can use more alcohol than this, but it will start to overpower the scent of the soap very quickly.

Add a little of the dissolved colour to one of your jugs of soap and stir it in. Add more gradually until you get the colour you want. For a melt and pour swirl, I find it works best if the two colours of soap you use for the swirl are high-contrast, so, quite far apart e.g. black and white, bright pink and white, etc.

Pastels and white don’t tend to show up very well in a melt and pour swirl, but you could do one jug with some pastel and the other jug with a very intense colour, or a contrasting colour. I did quite a nice pink/dark pink strawberry melt and pour soap with pastel pink and vivid Barbie pink.

Once your colours are mixed up, let the soap cool to about 38 degrees celsius (about 100 fahrenheit). You can test this with an infrared thermometer if you have one, or you can tell if the soap has cooled enough because it starts to thicken very slightly. An infrared thermometer doesn’t need to touch the soap, making it ideal for soaping which can be hard to clean out of a regular thermometer. You may have to stir every few seconds to stop a skin forming on the top of the soap (don’t wait until the skin has formed, if that gets into your swirl it won’t look great). You will probably also need to pour your soap quickly, unless you live somewhere hot with the air conditioning turned off, like Malaysia, or a campervan in the Scottish summertime.

Once the soap is at the right temperature, pick up both jugs at the same time. Pour them into the mould from opposite corners. Where they meet, you should get a nice effect, you can emphasize this by moving both jugs in a clockwise direction (or anti-clockwise. As long as they both go the same way). You may have to practice this a bit to not just mix the two colours when you pour into the mould.

You might be wondering if you can make swirls with clay in melt and pour. You can, but the colours from clays don’t come out very strong so the contrast won’t be there. Indigo powder or charcoal powder could work very well, however, if you contrasted the dark colour with a lighter one like yellow French clay. The benefit of adding charcoal or clay to the soap is that your scent will work better, too, so it’s worth experimenting with using these natural colourants in your soaps!

What is a layer?

In cold process soap, this is where you pour one layer of soap (that’s been blended to medium trace) in one color, then pour another in another colour, often using zig-zag-type movements to get the colour to move around. To get a swirl in cold process, you pour your soap in lots of layers before putting your soap mould on a lazy Susan and spinning it. However, this requires you to work with thicker soap than you can easily get in melt and pour (because melt and pour is chemically different to the trace stage of cold process, it behaves differently and the viscosity is nowhere near the same). In cold process, the layers stay together because after you’ve poured them, the soap gets hot (saponification is an exothermic reaction which means it gives out heat) while it sets. In melt and pour soap, once you’ve poured it, all that happens is it cools down. So because the chemical reaction has already taken place before you ever get your block of melt and pour soap, the soap itself isn’t able to “cook” itself into a solid bar of soap. So in melt and pour, if you try and layer the same way you would in cold process, it won’t work. Your soap will just fall apart.

How do you layer in melt and pour?

This is a surprisingly controversial topic because people who don’t make melt and pour tend to believe you can’t layer it. But you can! And it’s surprisingly simple.

There are actually two ways to layer melt and pour soap. The traditional method and the one I’ve discovered. One is a lot better than the other. 😉 #sassysoapmaking

The first, less good method is to pour a layer, let it set, spray alcohol on it right before pouring the next layer. This makes your soap smell of alcohol because melt and pour doesn’t evaporate any alcohol in the mixture because it doesn’t go through gel phase. Yucky drunk soap.

The Double Melt Method

This second method, which I call the Double Melt method (patent pending… jk haha), produces a nicer result but you need to watch the soap closely to get it right. You will need a microwave for this.

Layer your soap by pouring, letting it form a decent skin (it should flex like a trampoline when you gently press down on it) and pouring the next layer, over and over until you have a full mould of soap.

Next, turn your microwave down to its defrost setting. Put the soap mould inside and turn it on for about 20 seconds for individual bars of soap or about 40-60 seconds for a big loaf mould (assuming your microwave is a standard 750 watt one). This should provide just enough heat to get the layers to melt together. You might get a little colour bleed between layers with this method.

Let the soap cool down and harden for about 1 hour before unmoulding it, that way if you’ve heated it too much, it will set fully.

I’ve gone into more detail on layering with the Double Melt Method in this separate article, including what to do if it all goes wrong (and my soapy disaster when I messed this up).

The Double Melt Method for layering in melt and pour soap

The problem: You want to layer your soap, but you’re using melt and pour. And everyone says layering can’t be done in melt and pour. Surely, everyone is right?

Everyone is wrong.

I call this the Double Melt Method (patent pending… haha not really). This is how to get beautiful layers in melt and pour soap that actually stay together. And the method is easy to learn (but depends on your skill as a melt and pour soaper as to how well it will come out, so you can really challenge yourself to create beautiful designs).

What is a layer?

A layer is usually an area of soap which has different properties to the other areas around it. They can be different thicknesses and widths. The most common layers are coloured layers, but with melt and pour, transparent and opaque soap can be layered, and you could even layer scents, too, although you would probably want to choose scents that blend well because you would still be able to smell all of them at the same time.

Layers can produce some visually striking effects. They are most often used in loaf moulds, but can also be used in individual soap moulds.

You can layer by drizzling different colours in a pattern, or you could tilt your mould to create striking geometric layers. You can use a colour scheme or stick with varying shades of the same colour. You can even make a shape in one type of soap then put it into a shape made of another type of soap. This is called an embed but the archaeologist in me points out it’s just another type of layer. This double melt method works to get embeds to stick properly in your soap as well as making other layers hold together.

How do you layer in cold process?

In cold process soap, to get layers, you mix the soap to a medium or thick trace, add your colours, then pour it into your soap mould. With cold process soap, you don’t need to wait for the previous layer to dry before you can pour in the next layer. The advantage of this is the layers can be merged together by spinning them. This is called a swirl and I’ve talked about it more in another article.

Why doesn’t that work in melt and pour?

Melt and pour soap is different to cold process soap, because it has already undergone the process of saponification, turning the emulsion (trace) into a compound, and changing the properties of the oils in the soap. Cold process soap is in the process of saponifying at the point when you work with it, so it behaves differently.

When you make layers in melt and pour, if all the soap is liquid, it will merge together. You can produce some nice effects if you do this at the right temperature (which I’ve talked about more in my article on how to swirl in melt and pour), but if it’s all too hot, it will just mix into one uniform colour.

To make layers in melt and pour, you need to wait for the poured layer to harden, then you can add the next one. The big problem with doing this is that it causes the soap’s layers to separate, especially when you are cutting soaps from a loaf mould.

This is why people say you can’t make big artistic layer effects in melt and pour.

The traditional way around this is to spray each layer with alcohol then add the next layer. I tried this, and two things happened. First, my soap smelled really strongly of alcohol, despite the internet saying this would not happen. Secondly, when I cut into my loaf, the layers fell apart, despite the fact I followed the advice to turn the loaf sideways to cut it if there are layers. Great. Now I have thin crumbly strips of stinkly alcoholic soap that are about as solid as a Cadbury’s Flake.

Annoyed that I’d spent hours pouring these layers and also wasted 1.5kg of soap in my loaf mould, I started experimenting to see how I could fix my soap. Which is how I came up with the double melt method.

The Double melt method

Pour your layers, let each layer cool until it has formed a skin strong enough to touch, it should sort of look like a trampoline when you press the top of the layer with your fingers. Thinner layers will harden completely.

Once you have your layered creation, stop! Don’t cut it! Don’t unmould it! Put it straight into the microwave.

Turn the power down on your microwave. It needs to be on “defrost”. This is crucially important to make the double melt method work.

Set the timer for the following: Soaps in individual soap moulds need about 20 seconds at the most. Loaf mould soap needs 40-60 seconds, depending on the size of the loaf mould and the power of your microwave. Check your loaf mould fits in the microwave before starting a layered recipe.

If your loaf mould doesn’t fit in the microwave, unmould your soap, cut it in half straight down the middle. Wrap it in cling film and put it on a plate (so if it melts too much you don’t have to try and scrape soap off the microwave). This will need about 30-45 seconds in a 700 watt microwave.

It will take some experimenting to find the exact time for your microwave. If your soap is already cut and falling apart, wrap it in cling film and carefully heat it on the defrost setting.

Once you’ve done this, try to avoid agitating the soap. Move it as little as possible. Leave it to harden again. It may look solid on the outside but inside, it’s melting in places.

Once your soap has hardened, you can turn it on its side and cut it like cold process layered soap.

Why you can’t do this in the oven (with photos of a total soaping disaster)

The first time I tried this, because my soap mould didn’t fit in the microwave, I put the whole thing in the oven. This was a soapy disaster. The soap formed a crust on the top which burned and had to be chipped off from the mould. The wooden part of the mould gave off an odd smell. The soap had to be thrown away. The underside had a really nice pattern to it, however, and if I’d had a sealable, heatproof container the exact shape and size of my soap, it might have come out really well.

It may possibly work in the oven if you have a heatproof way of covering up the top of the soap, but the thickness of the wood in my mould stopped the heat penetrating very well except through the top of the container, which caused problems.

Never put plastic in the oven or metal in the microwave!

How to get rid of blackheads on your chin

Ok so you were looking for how to get rid of blackheads on your chin, and all the articles were general advice, usually aimed at getting rid of blackheads on your nose. But the chin area is the second commonest place to get blackheads and they can be especially hard to remove in this area because the skin on your chin is different to that on your nose.

First, are you sure you definitely have a blackhead on your chin?

What is a blackhead?

They are usually straightforward to spot, because they look like black dots on your face, however, on the chin, they can be confused with ingrown hairs, so knowing how to tell the difference between the two will help you know how to treat them.

An ingrown hair often has redness around it, and the skin covering the ingrown hair swells as the hair grows. There usually isn’t an obvious opening (a pinprick-like black dot, for example) and it often resembles a regular spot or pimple, but black under the surface of the skin.

By contrast, a blackhead is a pore in your skin which opened and then dirt got inside it, making it look black. The black dots of blackheads are a lot smaller than the blackness of ingrown hairs and usually a blackhead doesn’t hurt. In a blackhead, it’s only the open part (the clogged pore) which appears black; there won’t be any blackness beneath the skin.

Just to confuse things, blackheads can sometimes get swollen but these are rare.

To understand how to get rid of blackheads on your chin, we need to look at what actually causes them and what you can do to get those pesky blackheads to go away!

What causes blackheads on the chin?

Like other types of blackheads, the ones on your chin are caused when a pore is blocked. There are many reasons this can happen but a toxic mix of several factors make it more likely.

It happens more in warm climates because warmth makes your pores open up. Then when you are out in the environment with pollution and tiny particles of dirt being blown around by the wind, these can get inside your pores.

Bacteria that lives on the surface of your skin, along with dead skin cells, also fall into the open pores, like sea pouring into a big hole on the beach.

Even if you wash your face regularly, you can still get blackheads on your chin. Bacteria can grow in external clothing, such as turtle necks or scarves, and on necklaces. When these brush against your chin, they cause the bacteria to get into the open pores. Your pillow can also be a culprit, if your pillow case isn’t changed often enough.

Microscopic food or drink residue from cups and bowls can get in there, making a physical obstruction but also feeding the bacteria and causing them to multiply. When you sneeze, a fine mist of bacteria can get onto your face, too.

And it doesn’t need to be a hot day for blackheads to form. Your pores open for a lot of different reasons, even in winter (although blackheads are more likely in summer and warm climates). Wearing a warm scarf, doing exercise, resting your chin on your hands, the warm air in your car’s heating system, all cause your chin’s pores to open up, making them vulnerable to blackheads.

Once the pores are open and things have gotten into them, the sebum your skin produces will mix with the dirt. Sebum is supposed to keep things clean, but when there’s an overload of environmental factors getting into the pore, the sebum begins to harden and stops it all getting back out. Because the pore is forced to stay open, it doesn’t close over like a regular spot.

Once the sebum has hardened, your skin struggles to naturally clear the blackhead. At that point, you have a newly-minted blackhead on your chin and your face needs help to clear the blackhead. It’s rare for blackheads to form in isolation; usually the conditions that form them will affect dozens of pores at the same time.

How can you get rid of blackheads on your chin?

There are a lot of articles telling you to use steam, that certain essential oils work, or that you need to pay for a pimple popper. The reason very few articles can agree on how to get rid of blackheads is they are all valid methods. One will work better for you than the others, everyone’s different!

Here are the best ways to get rid of chinheads:

  1. Bioré charcoal pore strips. These are the big guns when it comes to clearing blackheads. These say they’re for oily skin but mine is ultra-dry and these are the best thing. If you can’t get a chin pore strip, cut down a nose one to get several chin blackhead strips. #moneysavingexpert
  2. Steam. You can try sitting over a bowl of hot water, maybe with some tea tree essential oil in it, although I find that while this opens up the pores, it doesn’t actually get the stuff to come out of them, so I would combine this with another method.
  3. A pimple popper. Not all pimple poppers are created equal. Some work quickly to clear your spot. Others are a useless beauty device that does nothing at all.
    Get a good one such as this one.
  4. Wash the area with a tea tree or witch hazel face wash. For natural results, tea tree and witch hazel are both good at helping with clogged pores. Witch hazel is an astringent which has been used as a toner for decades and tea tree is a natural antiseptic. Dab a bit on a cotton swab and swish over the affected area 1-2 times per day.
  5. Use an exfoliating AHA or BHA scrub, such as one containing salicylic acid. This is a great prevention, too, especially if you find a good scrub. I like the St Ives Apricot scrub which contains salicylic acid and the Nip+Fab glycolic fix one, which contains glycolic acid. To use, massage in circular motions with your fingers. Exfoliating scrubs containing these ingredients are really good for clearing problem areas such as the chin where you can really get those circular movements right. I’d recommend only using them 1-2 times a week once you’ve cleared your skin because they’re strong exfoliants.
  6. Use an electrical device. These are great for prevention and cure. The Clarisonic is a good option if you have the budget, otherwise I love my infrared sonic skin peeling tool, which uses infrared light and ultrasound to “bounce” the dirt right out of pores.

And the things that don’t work…

There are a lot of things that truly do not work to get rid of chinheads, but people keep doing them. Here’s a rundown of the worst offenders:

1.. Don’t squeeze a blackhead. They will splodge under your skin and spread, turning into horrendous spots.

2. Don’t scratch them. I always thought this was a given, then I met this guy who did this every time he had a spot. And he wondered why he was inundated with them. *facepalm.

3. The toothpaste method does not work for blackheads. That’s the one where you put a dot of toothpaste on the spot and leave it overnight. As the toothpaste dries, it sucks the gunk out of the spot. Doesn’t work for blackheads of any type or any location. This is good for other types of spots and pimples, though.

4. Don’t use a needle to dig them out. My mum used to swear by this. She had permanent scarring from it, and pore damage. Bad plan.

5. Don’t use oil-based products (except tea tree oil in small amounts) on the affected area until you’re sure the blackheads have gone away and when you use them, make sure your pores aren’t open or they’ll fill up again.

6. Don’t wait to take action against blackheads on your chin. The longer they are there, the more likely you are to have permanent damage from them. The pores can get stretched to a point where they’re always big and open.

7. Silver powder. Total pseudoscientific nonsense that’s been doing the rounds since the 90s. Don’t waste your money.

That’s basically all you need to know about blackheads on your chin. Here are my product recommendations for getting rid of blackheads.

Top products to get rid of blackheads on chins:

  1. Biore charcoal pore strips (cut up nose strips to get strips for your chin as they don’t seem to sell them separately).
  2. St. Ives Apricot Scrub
  3. Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Scrub
  4. Witch hazel toner (alcohol free)
  5. Tea tree oil. Use this sparingly as it’s potent stuff!

Top electrical devices to get rid of blackheads:

  1. An ultrasonic skin peeler and blackhead remover. These work really well to clear the skin. I recommend the Gugug Skin Spatula which is a steal at $21.99. I love mine so much and I use it once or twice a month as prevention.
  2. A complete skin cleaning device. The Clarisonic Mia is the gold standard but they’re very expensive and the Olay Pro X is a brilliant dupe (I used the Olay Pro X weekly to clear my husband’s problem skin in the 12 weeks before our wedding day… #guyfacial) and at $39.99 it’s less than half price of the latest Clarisonic tools.
  3. A specific blackhead sucker. The ones with blue light work well to kill the bacteria. A great choice is the Lonove Suction Blackhead Remover with Blue Light which is currently $24.99 although prices fluctuate.
  4. A facial steamer such as this one will focus the steam better on your face than a bowl of hot water, and as a bonus, it comes with a complete set of pimple-popping tools too! If $26.99 is too much to spend on something like this, a bowl of hot water will still help.

Got any blackhead-killing tips? Share them in the comments!

Top 10 Hello Kitty gadgets for adults on Amazon

I’m a huge Hello Kitty fan. I have so much Hello Kitty stuff.

Her real name is Kitty, not Hello Kitty. She is also from London, like me. And we met in China. I didn’t really get the whole Hello Kitty thing until we moved to China. Now my life is full of Kitty. I miss the amount of Hello Kitty stuff we could get in China. Then I found out there was loads on US Amazon — which ships to the UK and Ireland. Happy Kitty. So here are my top 10 Hello Kitty finds on Amazon:

10. The Hello Kitty cutlery set, featuring a pair of chopsticks, a fork and a spoon. Everyone in China and Japan has one of these sets for when they are out and about, and I love this Hello Kitty one. Note there’s no knife, and the fork and spoon are small, so it’s perfect for kids or to pop in your purse.

9. These cute Hello Kitty socks. I love these, there are several different options but I like the ones that come up past my ankles, so I don’t get cold on those winter walks that have become the only time I go out this year.

8. The Hello Kitty table lamp. When you want everyone who comes into your home to know how much you love Hello Kitty, this should be sat casually on a side table near the TV, where all your friends will see it.

7. A Hello Kitty humidifier. Because the air-conditioning messes up her fur, don’tcha know.

6. Super-soft full-size Hello Kitty blanket. I have two of these. They are huge. One is on our king-size bed and fits perfectly.

5. Hello Kitty Schick Razors. Because who knows hair removal better than a talking cat?

4. For a decadent breakfast, the Hello Kitty toaster. It puts Kitty on your toast, for mornings when you can’t get up without saying Hello, Kitty! For lunch, there is also the Hello Kitty toasted sandwich maker. This puts a Hello Kitty face into your grilled cheese sandwich! How exciting is that? They will also make your kitchen look SWISH. I can’t say I’ve reviewed these ones, though, because we have different electricity in Ireland to the stuff in America and I’d need a step-up transformer, which I don’t have room for in our tiny house. 😦 A girl can dream, though, can’t she?

3. For a Christmas gift for the Hello Kitty fan in your life *hint hint, husband* these delicate 925 Sterling Silver Hello Kitty earrings are so sweet!

2. Speaking of the winter holidays, these Hello Kitty Holiday Cards are a bit pricey, but you could make your own with some card and Hello Kitty stickers!

1. And if you like stickers, this stick on car decal is gorgeous, I can’t wait for mine to arrive!

Honorable mention has to go to the Hello Kitty Tamagotchi and this cute white apron (although the pink apron seems to have a problem on the graphic as Kitty’s ear has been colored in) which could make you feel super-cute in the kitchen.